Guided Fly and Spey Fishing Trips for Steelhead and Brown Trout with
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|Posted on November 18, 2020 at 7:25 AM||comments (130)|
Tom with a great fish his first day spey fishing with guide Matt Rysak!
I'm going to keep this one short. Things are fishing very well. We had a bit of an unseasonably warm and dry spell for a minute that made fishing a little tough on sunny days. But other than that there are good amounts of fish around. We've had some water of the past two weeks which got things moving even more. The Erie fish, bucks in particular are running large. We've lost a couple I'd say were well over 12 pounds. And from the reports I'm getting up on the Lake O tribs, there are some monster browns around. Watch for a full report on that next time. All in all, great fishing.
Greg with a FAT colored up buck
They don't get much nicer than this
Dough with his first fish (of 3) his first day ever spey fishing with fishing buddy John
Another one of Doug's first day fish
John getting it done on the Firestarter second morning
Doug even swung up an elusive Cattaraugus lake run brown way up there
The Lee Party striking silver with Guide Matt
Matt getting ready to put one in the net
Now's the time folks.
|Posted on October 5, 2020 at 10:55 AM||comments (14)|
My dad working the head of a familiar run
Well made it out for the first time this year, if only for a few hours in the morning with my dad. With drought conditions towards the second half of September, while I thought there'd be a fish or two somewhere, wasn't sure how many fish would be in. And overnight before getting out we got much needed rain, but it dirtied up the river quite a bit, while not adding excessive volume to the flows. But my dad doesn't get as much time to fish as either of us would like, so you have to make the best of it.
Went to an old standard for me, and we worked it over. With visibility somewhere around 14", it wasn't prime, but it is a spot that holds fish. My dad worked it through with a light tip and bigger fly and didn't get so much as a bump in the money spot. Then a good fish rolled a couple times. I fished through with a long belly, floating poly, and a smaller wet in blue and black but didn't get bumped either. Then I put on a natural colored bucktail minnow. The fish rolled a couple more times in the bucket. I swung out there and got a grab. I didn't set on it because I didn't feel weight on the line, but then he was still on there and trashing the surface with rolls so that when I finally did set it was too late.
Trouble with fishing light lines in slow water is sometimes without good water current pushing your line, a fish can grab and still be on the line but all you feel is the sharp pluck, especially from a good distance away. My casts were out there, so there was a lot of line between me and that fish. I can sit here and armchair quarterback what I did wrong. But getting a nice grab on the floating line is fun, and having a fish take in off conditions that way is even better. Seems like every year I feel more confident fishing that way. To be sure, the fly was lightly weighted, but it would still have been in the top half and not scaping bottom. Then a bit later I got the consolation prize of a smallmouth. And right after that my dad hooked and lost a fish at the head of the run.
We checked out a couple other places. Cast a bit, but we only had a few hours and had to call it before noon. But still, was a great time. Glad to see some fish have made it well upriver even before the rains came. Should only pick up from here.
My natural bucktail minnow
After the take
Decent smallmouth from 90 feet away
|Posted on September 15, 2020 at 11:20 AM||comments (77)|
Matt with a solid smallie
As I sit and write this, the morning temperature was 44 degrees. You can just feel it in the air, that regardless what season the calendar says it is, fall is here. The heavy dew on the grass, the crisp morning air that stings your hands a bit. It's just all good stuff. With the change in the seasons, our thoughts are changing too, from stream trout and smallmouth to our favorite target- steelhead.
We spent the last few days playing around with PA smallies and trout. They're still there and still eating. But the trip we just took will probably be the last of the season for them. All around the river temperatures are starting to dip, though most remain low and clear. We could use a few days of steady rain, the soaking kind not the runoff kind, to get things moving. We had a wet start to the summer, but since about mid-July we've been pretty dry, and the rain we did get came in big, pounding spurts. In some cases, inches of rain fell over the course of an hour or two. Glad we get the rain, but when it comes like that it just washes off. We need slow and steady rain for two days.
On the PA trip we had fun. We hooked smallmouth swinging trout speys, stripping streamers, and popping bugs. They really are a fun little fish and it's pretty clear why many anglers are showing them love now. We didn't find any huge ones, but we saw a few fish up to around 17" or so. Also found a partial hellbender skeleton which was super cool. Havent seen an alive one, but finding the skeleton was awesome. As for the trout, they're still acting trouty even in low water. Again nothing huge, but the biggest went to about 21"- a solid wild brown anywhere.
As for steelhead, getting a few reports of early runners. I havent been out to check it out just yet but like most seasons this time of year I expect there to be a couple poking around the lower reaches of creeks. Looking ahead, we have a scattering of days forecasted to get into the low-mid seventies over the next two weeks. That kind of sunny day can get the creeks and rivers up into the mid to upper sixties. If you go out, fish early and keep a thermometer with you. I say it every year, cut your fishing short if you see 65 degrees. These fish are too cool to be caught only once.
As for a fall forecast, over the last few years we've been seeing a trend of fewer fall steelhead. Not that the fishing has been bad, just that the numbers we've seen were on the lower end of the average spectrum. I think that's probably what we have in store again consisent fishing throughout the season with drawn out runs. So far this fall things are running low. September has been very dry for most the area. We just got a small shot of rain, and we have rain in the forecast so hopefully things will be picking up. Hopefully we see that first good push happening any day now.
Its about time to get out there and take a look.
Hellbender skeleton I found recently
Matt wrangling his smallmouth
|Posted on June 24, 2020 at 11:55 AM||comments (51)|
Just a run of the mill trout
Trout fishing in North-Central PA watersheds has been very consistent over the past several weeks, with good numbers of fish ranging from 12-20" and maybe just a bit more. In early June, evening hatches produced excellent action with a mix of March Browns, Sulphers, Light Cahills, and even a few Hendricksons around, along with some drakes and a ton of caddis. The spinner falls seemed to bring up the biggest trout, and at times long stretches of many of the systems we fish were boiling with trout feeding aggressively.
As of now, the water is warming to sustained highs in the upper 60's and even low 70's on many of the trout systems, as we approach the brunt of the warm summer weather. Picking your moments to fish carefully from now to the end of summer becomes the game. Early mornings will have the best water temperatures, though bugs are more active in the evening, the same time when water is the warmest. Look for cooling trends in the weather to fish the summer evening hatches and remember that for stream trout, water of 67-68 degrees or above should not be fished.
Other options this time of year include resident smallmouth bass found in many of the same trout drainages. These guys are a blast and in lower summer flows tossing poppers around rockpiles or log jams can bring out the smallies in a hurry. Wild brook trout streams also provide summer angling opportunities. Most of these are small, mountain creeks with good canopy and steep drainages that rarely see 60 degrees, let alone 70.
|Posted on May 4, 2020 at 8:00 AM||comments (6)|
Solid low-20's on meat
Got everything opened up at the PA cabin over the weekend and hit the river hard. It was worth it. The trout were acting trouty. Throwing the big stuff we moved probably fifty good sized fish. Lots of follows. Lots of swipes. Some real nice eats. Saw three bears on the river (didn't get a picture as it was a quick sighting unfortunately). I even caught two nice ones- one wading the first evening I was up there and a second that broke my rod on the hookset. Jeff and Matt all stuck really nice fish, including a couple really good rainbows. We'll be running trout trips in May and June. God I love trout fishing.
Good one on a double Ry-Snack
Rainbow close to 20
Matt with a pretty brown
And a solid rainbow
We floated through a snowstorm of caddis and picked up some hitchhikers
Jeff stuck the biggest fish on a double deceiver
This was a rod-breaker
The red on this adipose fin
|Posted on October 28, 2019 at 2:10 PM||comments (19)|
Jeff with a sweet Atlantic salmon!
The fishing this past week has ranged from very productive to working for a few fish as water levels have fluctuated from lower and clearer to high and stained. The Catt has fished on an off over the past week, with a weather system that came through Tuesday dropping about a half an inch of rain and muddying up the water for a few days. When it dropped, fish the fish in the river from before pushed up and fresh fish pushed into the lower stretch.
The smaller creeks all saw at least a little push on the high water, and fish can be found throughout each of them, though numbers still seem a bit lower than normal for this time of year. I attribute this to the low water and warm temperatures that persisted until about the second week of the month. Based on what I'm seeing, it seems like we're running a week or two behind schedule, which makes sense considering the foregoing.
The Ontario creeks all have fish in them, some more than others. The larger systems like the Oak and 18 Mile have the most due to the more consistent waterflows this fall. We have been pleasantly surprised by the numbers of Atlantics around this fall. Usually we see a couple darting around in the rivers each fall, but this year seems like there are a lot more around. That's really nice to see, and I hope that New York really develops this program. The kings seem to be struggling a bit, and I'm concerned that my predictions from September 2017 about an imbalanced predator-prey population are going to really manifest themselves in the next two or three years. Alewife populations are still really low and there have been a lot of mouths to feed over the past two years. The silver lining in that is with less king salmon, it seems the Atlantics are starting to flourish. But only time will tell.
Anyways, to sum it all up, the fishing is decent but not great. It should be getting better with each passing weather system that moves through, but the Catt will likely become more hit or miss as is usual this time of year. And I'm optimistic to see what the future holds.
Working a run
The beauty of fall
|Posted on October 7, 2019 at 9:25 AM||comments (17)|
A large pod of fresh steelhead holding in a shallow tailout of a small creek
Well the guiding season starts next week. In preparation I've been spending a lot of time scouting around. As of writing this, all the creeks in the region are still very low with the exception of the Catt. But that hasn't stopped the run from pushing in, and with the cooler temps and rain in the forecast periodically for the next two weeks, I'm anticipating things to heat up quickly!
More and more I find greater joy in photographing these wonderful creatures in their natural habitat without the harassment of anglers throwing all kinds of offerings at them. This time of year when the water is low the fish congregate in whatever suitable holding places they can find, often stacking up tightly like the picture above shows. So on the smaller creeks, its fun to walk the banks and observe- maybe take a picture or two and move on. When the water comes and the creeks raise it will be time to wet a line.
I did stop by some of the larger creeks as well. There are fish in all of them. Spent about an hour skating a bomber and a riffle hitched hairwing but no takers. Hopefully that will change soon.
|Posted on July 2, 2019 at 11:55 AM||comments (463)|
Kyle with a nice 23" wild Pennsylvania brown trout!
Well the fishing remains very good! Central PA wild trout are still fishing very well with all the water. Fishing streamers to undercut banks and overhanging vegetation is producing great fish up over twenty inches, and we're moving much bigger ones. Lake run smallmouth have slowed down over the last week or two. Prior to that the fishing was very good when the rivers were dropping and clearing. Looking ahead, if we keep having intermittent thunderstorms to keep the flows up we probably have another 3 weeks or so of good streamer fishing. I expect the smallies to be finishing up here fairly quickly.
Jeff with a pretty brown
Matt with a nice upper teens fish
|Posted on May 21, 2019 at 12:20 AM||comments (14)|
Jeff with a nice wild streamer eating brown
Spent the last few days hitting the wild browns in Pennsylvania and man it was too much fun! A good day streamer fishing is moving ten quality fish and hooking maybe three or four. On our float we moved somewhere around thirty up to around 25", hooked nine or ten and landed six- unreal! Jeff's fish above took a double white streamer literally as it hit the water looking exactly like a take on a mouse pattern- DID YOU SEE THAT!!!! Too much fun!
With steelhead in the rearview mirror, were hoping to get another few trout trips with the streamers before the water drops low for summer. When that happens big trout tend to stay deep, though terrestrials can tempt some up.
Matt with the prettiest fish of the trip ( I don't know why this pic will only load upside down)
Jeff with another
|Posted on March 5, 2019 at 9:50 AM||comments (337)|
Swinging a good run on the Grand!
Got out with John for some spey fishing a few days ago on the Grand. John drove in from PA to get his feet wet in the spey game, and he picked it up really quickly. Our first stop of the morning was over on the Chagrin, but it was slush central. I figured there would be some, but it was coming through pretty heavy and there was just no way to get a line in until it burned off. So we jetted over to the Grand to fish the big water, and the upper river was slush free!
Spent the rest of the morning working some really good runs. About an hour into it we had a great grab but the fish simply didnt connect, then about an hour later we hooked a nice fish but lost it during the fight. I didn't take a water temperature, but I can tell you it would have been around 33 degrees or so. The two fish that grabbed were both in the slow winter water, though the fish we lost looked like a fresher fish when it came up. Nice to see the spring fish getting up that high.
After that we went to a mid river run that has changed quite a bit recently. The wind picked up and the sun went away making it really cold and blustery. Iced guides became a problem again. Kept at it until about 5 in the afternoon but didn't get a third chance. All in all though for winter swinging on the Grand two grabs and one hookup is a good day! Won't be long now until we start really seeing numbers!